Eating

MILE AFTER MILE…

I finally bought new running shoes, with finances as difficult as they are right now, it takes a couple months to plan out strategically but fortunately, I won’t be training for a marathon for a few months, so these new Brooks Ghost 9s should last a little longer.

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Golden Gate Park trail 

I’ve also set some new and different goals for myself. For a few months anyway, I’ll be focused on get leaner and faster rather than just running longer distances. With the exception of this weekend when I ate a box of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Jojos (I know, I know, but they’re delicious!), I have been good about my eating and I’ll get back on track tomorrow.

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GGP trail

It isn’t going well finding work in fitness, so I’ve changed that goal. I don’t know if I’m going to find a paid part-time job in fitness, so I’m going to look for more volunteer work to get more experience until I can afford to get my certificate in Senior fitness. That cert will help me get a job in the area of fitness I desire. I can’t afford to work for minimum wage fulltime at a gym in town, but if I can get the experience and knowledge, maybe I can a position at a senior center.

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Sunset!

I’ve had good runs over the last week, including a terrific trail run Friday night. I was lucky enough to see one of the most beautiful sunsets! Yes, times are not easy right now, but at least I can still enjoy the scenery of my city!

Cheers!

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Best Salad Dressing EVER!!!

Cranberry Vinaigrette Dressing

My favorite dressing

After my Seniors Walk and a great gym workout this Saturday morning, I tried a new salad dressing recipe for lunch. I must say it is the BEST dressing I have ever tasted!

I collect cookbooks and every now and then I love to try recipes from them. I write next to each recipe how I liked it, what worked, what didn’t for future reference. My favorite cookbooks have the most notes. My mom did the same thing and now that she’s passed if I ever miss her I can look back at her cookbooks, read her notes and feel she’s still with me.

Since it’s Springtime, I try to steer my eating towards what’s available fresh and grown as locally as I can. I made a nice salad for lunch with baby spinach, asparagus, green onion and this amazingly, delicious salad dressing from the book: THE COOL MOUNTAIN COOKBOOK by Gwen Ashley Walters. It’s a very nice book showcasing recipes from some of America’s best winter resorts.

I tried out ASPARAGUS SALAD with BALSAMIC CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE from the Rusty Parrot Lodge in Wyoming. I will make it regularly from now on. It only takes a few minutes. You will be very happy you took them to make this!

ASPARAGUS SALAD with BALSAMIC CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE

4 servings

Vinaigrette:

½ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup honey

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup chopped yellow or red onion

1 garlic clove, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Salad:

1 bunch asparagus – about 30 spears

4 cups baby spinach

4 green onions, sliced thin

Optional: 1 ounce Goat cheese

Place the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes only. Then take out quickly and place in ice water so the stalks maintain their fresh green color. Take out and cool in a bowl in the refrigerator while making dressing.

Place all dressing ingredients except olive oil in a blender and blend for 10 seconds. Turn off and pour a little oil in, place cover back on, blend for a few seconds and repeat until all oil is gone. The dressing should be nice and frothy. It will still be a bit chunky and that’s fine.

Place the spinach in 4 bowls, add the asparagus stalks. Divide goat cheese pieces up between the 4 bowls and pour the salad dressing evenly between the bowls. Sprinkle the green onion slices on top and serve.

 

Age Makes a Difference

When I was younger I never had a problem losing weight. If I weighed a few pounds more than I should, I lost it right away. Of course, I was A LOT more obsessive about my weight and looks then. Sometimes I would go entire days without eating and later, after running a few miles, I would wonder why I felt so weak or cranky or tired. The mere thought of eating dessert was enough to send me into a trauma.

Have things changed! And for the better, thank goodness!

Life has so many twists, so many surprises and experiences. Through them we learn, we hurt, we laugh, we battle against all odds and hopefully, we continue to move forward.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve added some extra weight, as many of us do, but I’m not emotionally distressed over it. I am determined to lose it however. It’s not a massive amount, but I do believe that I can be a better runner and certainly a better trainer if I am in the best shape I can be. Carrying around extra weight doesn’t help me at all.

And I’m losing it the right way, with healthy eating and lots of great workouts, both strength training and running.

In my fifties, losing weight isn’t as easy as it was all those decades ago. Even a few extra pounds turns into a major chore. It really isn’t easy. And one careless night of bad eating can add those lost pounds in a snap, which will take me weeks to lose once more.

But one of my goals this year is to be a better runner and I really cannot do that unless I shed some weight.

And just after five days of healthy eating and workouts, I’ve lost 3.5 pounds. I know it’s mostly water weight, but still not a bad start!

Have great workouts this weekend!

Cheers!

RUNNING IN MY 50s

Tomorrow is my birthday, which got me to thinking about what running is like now that I’m a little older and supposedly, wiser…

I’ll be 57 Tuesday and running these days is more enjoyable than it ever has been. When I get into a groove, I appreciate it more than ever. I ran 16 miles early yesterday morning and during a long stretch of two or three miles halfway through, I was able to relax, just run along, listen to my music and look at the calm and blue Pacific Ocean. That was nice.

But it’s also much, much more high maintenance. It wasn’t until just last year when I discovered I had to do strength training at least twice a week to keep from getting intense IT band and knee pains. I keep my hips and core strong, I work those area hard at the YMCA. I’ve learned to really enjoy those workouts, nearly as much as my runs. It’s a nice change for my non-running days.

I also find I have great balance and can move very swiftly in every day movements, much more so than non-runners in their 50s. If I have to run for a bus, just out of the way of a thoughtless cyclist or pick up a dropped pen quickly, no problem! All those squats and hill repeats have really helped.

My weight is an issue. I’m not too much overweight, maybe 15-20 pounds more than I should be, but it’s dreadfully difficult to lose weight now. Of course, with all this running, it’s very hard to lose weight because I’m always hungry. I tried to explain that to a non-runner at work and she couldn’t understand the concept. it’s just something I have to deal with and perhaps accept that I’ll never be a very thin runner.

I spend A LOT of time on my own running or working out. I’ve always been a loner-type person so I’m rather used to it, but it’s even more so now. Many people hate being so much alone, and there are times, I will admit that I’d love some company doing non-running things, but when I run I like to run alone. I’ve never been a big group runner. I’ve done group runs and I will do them, they can be fun, but not as much fun as running alone.

So what will my 57th year bring? I hope many, many more miles and lots more squats, crunches and endless pairs of running shoes.

Cheers!

 

SNAGS AND SETBACKS

I’ve been reading this book “The Untethered Soul”, by Michael A Singer about reclaiming your life and true Inner Growth. It’s an interesting read, one that can help me quite a bit, as I tend to worry a lot about things out of my control. I’ll write a complete review of it in here when I finish it.

Stress is the big killer. Combine stress with unhappiness and it can lead to many things, none of them good. And it has been getting to me lately. I simply must find a way to let go the stress I’m experiencing these days.

It is a work in progress. I’m including meditation in my evening routine, as well as getting back into eating healthy and striving to reach my fitness goals. This will take three things: 1) time, 2) patience and 3) money. And I need to do a better job at all three.

But it’s OK. I will do them all. My first goal is to not be so hard on myself. The greatest damage we can do is to be our harshest critic. So, I’m going to smile back at myself in the mirror more and carry on!

I ran six miles last night through Downtown and along the Bay. It was wonderful! The weather was mild, absolutely no wind and I felt so free. Tonight, I hit the gym, ready to work out my trouble spots: Core, Glutes, Shoulders, Arms.

And tomorrow as Scarlett said, is another day.

Cheers!

 

PS: I’ve revamped my blog/website. It’s now much simpler to reach and it will have a lot more content, including exercise instruction, recipes and reviews. Let’s just say that it will be a great place to check back often!

SAN FRANCISCO HOT CHOCOLATE 15K, 1-10-16

HC 2016

I’m late with my race report. It’s been a busy week. I’ve been studying as much as I can AND running AND going to the gym AND getting to bed at a decent time AND eating right. So, it’s late.

On my way home from the race expo, which is in the suburb of South San Francisco and not easy to get to without a car, I had decided this would be my last Hot Chocolate race. The jacket this year was just OK, not nearly as nice as last year and the expo itself was disappointing. There were so many people who seemed more excited about free samples than getting in shape that it seemed more like one of those “fun runs” than a race.

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Pre-race in Golden Gate Park

I have nothing against “fun runs”. I think it’s great people want to get out and walk. It’s better than sitting on the couch. But I’m a running. I’m trying to better myself with each race I do. It’s fun, sure, but it’s also a chance for me to PR or go farther than I ever have. Races to me are serious affairs. I enjoy myself, but I am also competitive. Mostly with myself, true, but I want to always do better than I have previously if I can.

The Hot Chocolate expos are usually quite sparse. They have very few vendors and the ones that give away samples are usually over crowded. In fact, at the Lara Bar booth, I nearly got pushed out of the way by a few people. This one guy tried to push me to get ahead of me in line and I stopped him. How rude can people get!

The next morning, I got to the race too early, as usual. I tend to do that at races. So I hung out at the merch tent, huddled with others, trying to stay warm, until they kicked us out. I met some really nice runners, including a couple of marathon runners and I felt more a part of this race.

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Race Goodies and Buster

What made me feel sort of separated to begin with was this year the race directors tried something new. If a runner wanted to be in a starting corral other than just the general, mass one, they needed to show proof of an average pace per mile in a race faster than 12:30 minutes. Since that was my time in my part races (or a little slower), I couldn’t, so I got stuck in a corral with walkers and woggers (runners/walkers). The corral said “No Walkers”, but I don’t think many walkers pay attention to that, to be honest.

Let me just say that I think it’s great people want to be active and go do something, as I’ve said, and I hold nothing against walkers, but it creates problems for runners when these walkers are placed in the same corral or above runners because they we have to run around them, wasting valuable energy.

Hot Chocolate 2016

Love the medal

When the race started, I realized I was running at a faster pace than I had planned. But it felt good! So I kept up this faster pace for the rest of the race. I PR’d my last time by 6 minutes! I love the course. It starts in Golden Gate Park near Stowe Lake, winds through the park to Ocean Beach, going south on the Great Highway to Sloat and back up, through the park, uphill, ending on JFK near the deYoung Museum. It’s pretty level, except for the very gradual up and down hills that if you forget about, will get you.

I’ve decided that I will do the race again next year. With this faster time, I can get into a better corral. And maybe I can PR again.

Cheers!

HUNGER PANGS AND WILL POWER

Things are moving like a runaway freight train and for the most part and I’m loving every moment. All the strength and flexibility training I’m doing is paying off: my running is mostly pain free and doing great, even during my long runs and hill runs, no IT band or hip issues.

My workout usually looks like the following:

Monday – gym after work for core, upper body and strength training

Tuesday – hill or tempo run

Wednesday – rest or gym for core and strength training

Thursday – middle distance run

Friday – gym for core, upper body and strength training

Saturday – easy run and yoga

Sunday – long, slow distance run

In between all this, I am usually VERY HUNGRY. Even after a good, healthy dinner, I can be hungry. I have found myself going crazy at night, eating everything in sight. This isn’t good, I know, but sometimes my will power isn’t there.

To help fight back, I wrote up a list of healthy snacks to eat and have ready. Each are in single serving sizes that I can pull out and enjoy with zero guilt or weight gain. They include: 1 strip beef jerky, 1/4th cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds, 1/3 cup unsweetened granola, handful grapes and walnuts, 1 cup Icelandic yogurt, sliced carrot and hummus, toast with cottage cheese and pineapple.

I’ve gotten quite creative in my snacks. They have to have both carbs and protein but they have to be tasty and satisfying too.  So far, so good. I’ve keep the weight off I’ve lost and I’m well on my way to losing the rest.

Cheers!

Eating Well Doesn’t Cost A Lot of Money

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to cook. Mom started me out baking cookies and from then showed me how to make soup, spaghetti (it was never called pasta at Our house), fried chicken, potato salad, how to bake cakes and all the staples. But I went farther in my love for cooking. So much so that I almost prefer watching the cooking shows on PBS than I do most fictional television. Right now, I’m stuck on New Scandinavian Cooking and John Besh’s New Orleans Cuisine. He rocks.

Because money is tight, I’ve had to reign in my food expenditures, like everything else. This doesn’t mean I still don’t eat well. I might even be eating better. Not having extra money means I don’t eat out, I don’t spend money on extras like snacks or rich, packaged foods and nearly everything I consume now is made from scratch.

Now that most everything I make is from scratch, I can be pickier about the sources of my food. I try to make sure that most of my produce is organic. Sure, not all of it is going to be. But the majority is. One way to cut down on my costs is to only buy what I will consume. This seems like such a simple thing, but it’s really not so easy. Most packaging isn’t made for us single folk, so again, I do better buying the basic products or in bulk, where I can determine just how much I need.

This weekend I roasted a whole chicken. It’s my most favorite food, honestly. But it’s also great because I can make meals out of it all week. And then, I’ll make soup from the bones. I bought a free-range, organic chicken for around $11.00 at Trader Joe’s and it will be two meals a day for me at least through Wednesday. I will probably freeze most of the soup.

There is a cost on my time with all this good eating. I need to do more shopping than most, and that means more shopping in a few more places. I go to Trader Joe’s, the local vegetarian co-op, Farmer’s Markets and even the grocery store if I need basics.

I also plan out my meals. This not only helps my budget, but my weight. I’m losing pounds, to get down to my best running weight and I couldn’t be successful without having alternatives to the empty calories I used to turn to when hungry lurks. I know myself. I know how I get when I’m hungry and have no healthy alternatives  to eat. Take tonight. Even after dinner I was hungry. I waited 20 minutes to see if I was really still hungry and I was. Over the weekend I bought a big bag of deliciously sweet cherries and had a handful of those. That was perfect! They filled me up, cured my sweet tooth and gave me some nutrition besides.

Our lives are busy, I understand. But even though they are busy, there is time to take some moments to think about what we’re eating. This doesn’t mean you need to stop eating out, but maybe think about cooking once in a while. I’ll try to include more recipes in the future, with pictures of course.

Cheers!

FOOD & SENSIBILITY

A friend of mine asked on Facebook how to stop her from getting up at night and eating. And when she does eat in the middle of the night, it’s not anything healthy. This led to a big discussion about healthy eating, artificial sweeteners and a whole host of other issues.

Although I’m not a clean eating purist, I do try to limit the pre-packaged foods I eat and I try to not eat anything artificial. On the rare occasion I have soda, it’s usually at a bar atmosphere and I’ll stick to the sugared variety. But this is maybe, three, four times a year. I enjoy real, whole foods and I don’t have much of a taste for junk foods, with the exception of blue corn tortilla chips…

Wow, she wrote, this is not going to be easy….

And there is the realization that it takes work to eat well. But, it’s so worthwhile! It’s like doing a good job, getting good grades or treating others around you with kindness. The rewards from healthy eating are so great. The food is superior and delicious! The payoffs will be felt nearly immediately; you’ll look and feel better. And if you plan wisely, and cook for yourself, your finances won’t suffer.

Sensible eating makes so much more “sense” than dieting. I’ve yoyo’d more times than I’ll ever admit to in my life and I don’t want to do it again. I’ve been underweight and I’ve been overweight. I’ve been obsessed with eating and I’ve not cared. But now I’m in a point in my life when I want to feel as good as I can. I have some pounds to lose myself, so why not lose them while still enjoying meals and eating and, life?

I’ll keep writing about how it’s going as the weeks move along. So far, so good.

These days I’ve been super busy working out a lot.

Last week, I had two runs with two clients, and they went really well, my first kickboxing class, yoga, a couple weight training sessions at the Y, a group run and a solo hill run. Monday forced me to take a rest day with the only chance to do laundry and this week looks just as busy. I’ll give you a rundown on my workouts this weekend.

Cheers!

Purple kale from the Farmers Market

Purple kale from the Farmers Market

Why I Don’t Juice

Juicing….can’t leave the house without hearing or reading about someone doing it. It’s become the Beverly Hills Diet of 2015, so hip and trendy. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution and Man’s obsession with weight loss, diets have plagued us. Juicing is just the latest diet craze.

I understand the psychological need to rid oneself of toxins, but the body does a terrific job of that all on its own. Don’t underestimate our own ability to wash away the “bad” stuff once we stick to eating and living healthy; it’s amazing what our own Self can do!

Some people get in the bad state of mind thinking that if a weight loss system works fast, it must be good. Sure, you’ll lose weight fast juicing, but people lost weight quickly using Slim Fast years ago too. And then they gained it gained just as fast, adding on a few extra pounds. Juicing is just another binge diet. Supporters can add on all the buzz words they want…. cleansing, anti-inflammatory, organic, add in any others you wish, but in the end, what’s happening is they’re limiting caloric intake and will lose weight.

Juice, be it from fruit or vegetables doesn’t fill me up. Whole foods fill me up. And if I’m going to have liquid food, I’ll take a blended smoothie; I like getting my fiber along with my foods.

My leg has felt terrific this week. I invested in a stronger brace and have been doing leg curls which have really helped with my IT Band. My run last night felt great.

Have great runs this weekend!

Cheers!